Owning a dog is a rewarding and enlightening experience, but watching our beloved friends grow old can be difficult. Older dogs, like older humans, often face health challenges as their minds and bodies change. It’s no secret that we all want what’s best for our pets, but many of us worry about the financial demands of an aging dog — the costs of health procedures, checkups, prescriptions, and equipment can really add up. Fortunately, there are several ways you can save money on your senior dog’s care routine and prevent expensive health problems in the future.
Purchase Senior Pet Supplies
Prioritize your spending on cost-effective supplies, equipment, and dog food that will have the greatest effect on your dog’s quality of life. For example, older dogs often experience pain bending their necks to drink or eat. Raised food and water bowls can offset this problem and help your dog enjoy this daily activity once again. Also, consider picking up some pet supplements to support your dog’s joints and an orthopedic dog bed to cushion their aging bodies and relieve any pain. Walmart is a great place to find these supplies on a budget. If you shop online, there are several outlets with promotional savings offers, use the savings to further support your pet’s health.
Switch to Higher-Quality Food
One particularly important item you should plan to buy is quality dog food. Senior dogs have different nutritional needs than their younger counterparts, but this doesn’t mean their food has to be pricey. Special “senior dog food” may not be necessary since it tends to be identical to dog food marketed toward younger dogs.
Older dogs typically need food that is highly digestible, soft textured, and high in protein. For extra points, look for foods with added joint supplements, antioxidants, and healthy fats like coconut oil and omega-3 fatty acids. Instead of choosing the most expensive brand you can find, learn how to read dog food labels and make educated food choices for your pet.
Prevent Pet Obesity
Not only should you pay close attention to the kind of food you’re buying, but how much you’re dishing out as well. According to Shape, pet obesity is a significant problem, affecting nearly one-third of pets in the United States. Being overweight can exacerbate age-related problems in dogs, including joint pain, heart issues, respiratory diseases, and arthritis. So, it’s no surprise that overfeeding your dog can lead to higher medical bills. You’ll also end up overspending on dog food this way.
In a recent survey, over half of cat and dog owners reported feeding their pets when they beg for food. On top of this, 60 percent of owners were unaware of the health problems associated with overfeeding. Stick to a feeding schedule and only give your pet a set amount of food per day. You can use this dog food calculator from Dog Food Advisor to determine an appropriate amount of food for your senior pet.
Regular exercise is also crucial for preventing obesity. Physical activity will also help keep your pet’s joints working smoothly and stimulate their minds to stave off cognitive decline. Puppy Leaks recommends checking with your vet before starting your dog on a new exercise routine. In general, daily walks are usually highly recommended for dogs of any age and breed. Just make sure you take it slow and watch for signs that your dog is struggling to keep up.
Have Your Dog’s Health Conditions Treated Early
Though veterinarian visits can be costly, having your pet’s health conditions treated early will prevent minor issues from becoming serious, expensive problems. Try to take your older dog to the vet every six months for a wellness exam and disease screening. Talk to your vet about a preventive care schedule to prolong your dog’s life and optimize their comfort.
Taking preventive care of your dog is your best bet for avoiding high veterinarian fees in the future. Shop around for low-cost products and talk to your vet about the best ways to keep your dog healthy. Most importantly of all, be patient. Your dog may not be able to see or hear as easily as she once did, and she may get confused from time to time, but she still loves you to pieces!